Amy Goodloe grew up dreaming of teaching and living on a horse farm. Little did she know that in the course of teaching college-level writing, she would discover a new passion.
While teaching, Goodloe stumbled across graphic arts programs that she thought could help herself and her students further their storytelling.
"Like many of my students, I had stories to tell but lacked the skill to draw or paint images for them, so when I saw a bundle on sale with Anime Studio, Poser Debut, and Clip Studio Paint, I figured I'd give those tools a try," she said.
That trial turned into another way for her to tell her stories. You can find her creations on her website, perpetualrevision.net.
Goodloe, a.k.a., perpetualrevision on Renderosity, took some time to some talk about how she creates with Poser.
How long have you been creating digital art and why did you start?
Goodloe: I started learning to create digital art around 2014, when I was looking for ways to expand the set of tools students could use for digital storytelling in my university writing courses. Like many of my students, I had stories to tell but lacked the skill to draw or paint images for them, so when I saw a bundle on sale with Anime Studio, Poser Debut, and Clip Studio Paint, I figured I'd give those tools a try.
I spent enough time learning Anime Studio that I was able to help students figure out how to use vector drawing apps to draw and animate their stories, but I had a full-length graphic novel in mind for a project of my own and wanted a greater range of characters, poses, and expressions. So I started playing with Poser. It immediately satisfied my techie side but took a while longer to satisfy my artistic side, and when it did, I fell in love with it!
What inspires your creations?
Goodloe: For the first few years of using Poser, I was inspired by the desire to make scenes for a graphic novel that were somewhat stylized, not too toony and not too realistic. I spent a lot of time figuring out how best to set up a cast of characters and collecting (or making) prop sets for them to interact with, but all my renders were tests of this concept or that, not finished pieces to share. And after a while, I got the itch to just make some art, without worrying about whether I'd be able to use it for the graphic novel.
The novel (a young adult fantasy) does feature some fantastical beings, so I started playing with fairy figures like Mavka and Amity as well as with whimsical creatures like the monsters from 3DUniverse and Lady Littlefox's Unicorn. Then I discovered Nursoda's charming figures as well as 1971s' whimsical prop sets and my imagination took off! About five or six months ago, I finally decided to put the graphic novel on hold and to just let myself become immersed in learning to make the kind of art I've always admired but never thought would be within my grasp.
Tell us about your graphic novel.
Goodloe: I haven't yet managed to come up with a super short "log line" for the story that I'm happy with, but here's a teaser blurb I wrote for National Novel Writing Month:
The Emissaries thought they'd finally figured out a method for delivering the Celestials' gifts to humans that was foolproof. The New Skye Town Council thought they'd finally put an end to the community discord that threatened to expose the true nature of the town’s residents and the creatures they care for. Sara Stirling thought she'd finally managed to tame her rebellious tendencies so that she'd fit in with the other 11th graders at New Skye Lumen Academy and maybe even find a boyfriend.
They were all wrong.
What is your favorite thing to design?
Goodloe: I love to make art that has an element of fantasy, but with a kind of unexpected or charmingly mundane story. Given my writing background, you'd think I'd come up with the story first, but I often find it more freeing to work the other way around: put together a set, add some characters, and then let the story emerge.
What artists or people have influenced your work?
Goodloe: I love the work of so many Poser artists at Renderosity! But if I didn't have access to the artistry of Nursoda, 1971s, and other talented vendors, I never would've found a way to bring the scenes in my imagination to life!
What is the process of creating images like for you?
Goodloe: I have loads of ideas, which I keep in a brainstorming list, so whenever I finish a scene I'll return to the list to see what jumps out at me. Then I just start playing around to see what happens. Sometimes I'm in the mood to work with a particular figure or prop set; other times I want to push what I can do with lighting, camera angles, atmosphere, or whatever. About two-thirds of what I start makes it to the "final render" stage (eventually), and the rest I chalk up to "learning experience."
As for the process itself, I'd say it's:
1 short part inspiration (at the start),
1 short part refinement (at the end), and
1 very long part in-between that consists of lots of trial and error, endless test renders, some head-banging, and possibly some swearing!
That's actually a lot like the "perpetual revision" of the writing process :-)
What are your plans for future projects?
Goodloe: I retired from more than 20 years of university teaching a couple of years ago, and my main goal for the foreseeable future is to continue learning how to make the kind of art that's apparently been bottled up inside me for decades. I will eventually return to the graphic novel, and by then I'll have a much more flexible and sophisticated "vocabulary" for conveying the story through visuals.
Do you have a dream project and if so, what is it?
Goodloe: I play around with the idea of building props for a "Fairy Haven" village where my Nursoda folk might live, with exteriors by 1971s and interiors, furnishings, and village surroundings by me. I want to fill these whimsical fantasy houses with mismatched furniture made at odd angles and with big poofy cushions and curly-cue posts, like I know Fehn and Vila would enjoy!
I've made a few props for this world, but two things keep me from fully diving in:
1. while I'm fairly proficient at box-modeling, I'd need to learn to sculpt in order to get the quirky, "lived in" shapes I have in mind; and
2. I'm having too much fun making art to take time away to learn the modeling skills I'd need.
So it's fun to think about but not something I'll be ready to dive into anytime soon.
Do you have traditional art experience?
Until I discovered Poser, my creative impulses could find an outlet only through writing and document/web design. I tried to learn to draw, but I knew it would always feel like I was trying to tell an epic tale with the vocabulary of a first grader :-)
Advice to other Artists?
Goodloe: Learning to make digital art takes a variety of skills and a lot of patience, so give yourself plenty of time to get to know your software and plenty of freedom to try different things until you find what works for you. And even when you find it, keep trying new things!
Poser offers users the ability to use interactive 3D figure design to create art, illustration, animation, comics, web, print, education, medical, games, story boarding, and more. Using the program, creators can bring their stories, dreams and fantasies to life. From historic to contemporary, sci-fi to fantasy, Poser is the 3D graphics software tool used by professionals and hobbyists alike.
That's why we want to take a closer look at some of the creators who leverage the power of Poser to create.
What can you create? Let us know on Twitter at @poserpro, using #CreateWithPoser.